It has been a while since I have played in a standard tournament which wasn’t just an FNM, in that tournament I managed to get to the finals with a U/B control draw-go style deck. However, as many of you guys know, the meta-game has shifted to a point where draw-go is simply a bad place to be right now. People said how [card]Cavern of Souls[/card] would not affect control and that it would simply ‘adapt’, however this adaption of control decks has made delver (the deck CoS was meant to ‘nerf’) even better placed.
I love U/B control however, and so I decided that I would change the draw-go deck into a tap-out U/B control deck to deal with the Delver, Ramp and R/G aggro decks I expected to be prevalent.
Here is the list:
2x [card]Curse of Death’s Hold[/card]
2x [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card]
4x [card]Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas[/card]
2x [card]Go for the Throat/[/card]
1x [card]Doom Blade[/card]
3x [card]Mana Leak[/card]
4x [card]Ratchet Bomb[/card]
3x [card]Ichor Wellspring[/card]
3x [card]Pristine Talisman[/card]
2x [card]Tumble Magnet[/card]
1x [card]Grafdigger’s Cage[/card]
1x [card]Trinket Mage[/card]
1x [card]Nihil Spellbomb[/card]
1x [card]Elixir of Immortality[/card]
1x [card]Grafdigger’s Cage[/card]
1x [card]Karn Liberated[/card]
1x [card]Sever the Bloodline[/card]
1x [card]Wurmcoil Engine[/card]
2x [card]Bloodline Keeper[/card]
1x [card]Blue Sun’s Zenith[/card]
2x [card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/card]
That’s right, it is Tezzeret U/B control!
The meta-game has shifted in such a way that I felt that Tezzeret was perfectly poised to become a real deck. Theoretically the match up against Delver should improve, with the amount of lifegain and ways to deal with a flipped delver/geist of st. traft.
Also the matchup against the aggro decks (humans and R/G) would improve massively, board clearers, lifegain, 5/5 blockers etc. The key cards against WRR are the Tumble Magnets, Spot Removal and Metamorph (Spellskites/Curse are pretty good too!). The theory was all good, however results are not based on theory and so let us go on to talk about how it worked in practice.
On the day of the tournament itself I was suffering badly from hayfever (which I would like to apologize to my opponents for). Therefore throughout the day I was making some mistakes due to a lack of concentration, although I do not feel this contributed too much to the overall impression of the deck.
Round 1: U/B Control
Why hello there old deck I used to play and love. My opponent was Mark Biddle and he was running the draw-go version of U/B control. I must confess that I did not expect this kind of deck in the meta-game and so it was interesting to see it play out.
Game 1 was a very long game, however a resolved mimic vat with snapcaster under it, meant that all the card advantaged gained wore me out.
Game 2 was won on the back of a Tezzeret 5/5 artifact beat down plan. This left us some 5 minutes to finish Game 3, as soon as time on the round was called I thought about just accepting the game as drawn, but decided I may as well attempt to win. Mark had no counters and no spot removal in hand and lost in 2 turns from the Tezzeret-Inkmoth combination.
Round 2: U/W Delver
I was playing against the in-form Zak Dodds, who recently won the Avacyn Restored Game Day with a similar deck.
Game 1 was rather long, which is probably a bad sign for a Delver deck which relies heavily on tempo, I had the mass removal in the form of Black Sun’s and Ratchet Bombs and began the beatdown using my bigger threats.
Game 2 went down to the wire, I was on 3 and Zak had 2 Restoration Angels out, a Gideon (which I had to attack) and a Tamiyo, which was tapping down a Batterskull. I had a 5/5 and a 1/1 out, with Tezzeret and Liliana in hand. What I should of done was equip the Batterskull to my 5/5, play Liliana, make him sacrifice and beat down with my 9/9 vigilance lifelink. For some reason I forgot to do this (perhaps aforementioned hayfever, or a lack of ability to play the game!) and proceeded to lose the game and therefore drew the round.
Disappointing, but the deck had the potential to win and that is the main thing.
Round 3: U/W Delver
Another Delver deck and this time piloted by Tom Buettner, who I always travel with to these tournaments. Like me, he hasn’t had much practice in the new metagame as a result of university.
Game 1 was early pressure from Tom, putting me down to 6-7 life while countering all my threats. However, my plan against Delver is to force them to counter my threats to allow for the resolution of a board sweeper. With a clear boardstate and my pristine talismans going to work I found myself going back up towards 20 life and resolving threats which were more powerful than the tempo dependent Delver threats.
Game 2 simply involved me playing threats which the blue based Delver decks could not interact with – Planeswalkers and Artifacts.
Round 4: U/W Delver
You guessed it! Another Delver deck! My opponent being Aaron Biddle, who is currently 3-0 and the only person to do so. I must admit I cannot remember much of the games, I won game 1 by clearing the board and producing threats with Tezzeret.
Game 3 I managed to win with Inkmoth Nexus beatdowns. That meant I had got into the top 8 with an ID in Round 5 and the deck had the best record 3-0-2, alongside Tu and Jonno.
Top 8: Rush Infect
Losing the dice roll against Rush Infect is effectively game over for U/B, we need to draw our curse to deal with Inkmoths and other answers to deal with the other threats. A Tezzeret deck packing lots of lifegain and a sideboard dedicated against the major decks didn’t really stand much of a chance against this unexpected deck.
I lost 2-1.
Although I only finished in the 5th-8th bracket I was happy with the performance of the deck against Delver, which takes up a huge part of the meta. In testing the deck performs well against R/G variants and Humans, however more testing against Zombies and Pod is needed. In testing the best cards in the deck are [card]Ratchet Bomb[/card] and the centre piece card Tezzeret. U/B originally had a huge problem dealing with swords, which both of these cards can answer, also it is important to note that Ratchet Bomb can effectively be a 2 mana board sweeper against delver.
I would highly recommend this deck to any control player who feels that draw-go just isn’t performing and to anyone who just wants to play with their unused playset of Tezzerets!
Thanks for reading,
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This article was originally posted on Chris’s website here.